Vernacular competitive examination preparatory platform Pariksha has raised $1 million (Rs 6.8 crore at the current exchange rate) in a pre-Series A funding round from a group of investors including incubator and accelerator platform Venture Catalysts.
Venture Catalysts invested Rs 4 crore (approximately $580,000) and the rest came from angel investors including Aqueel Merchant, former MD of Accenture, Shivkumar Swaminathan, former CFO Idea Cellular (Mumbai), Abhishek Agarwal, president, Judge Group; Gaurav Dhawan, head of marketing ITC (agri division), Gaurav Omhare from Qatari Business Angels and Ritesh Mangla, partner at Deloitte, Karanvir Singh, co-founder of Pariksha, told TechCircle.
The funds will be used by Pariksha to strengthen its product offerings, bolster back-end operations and expand reach all over India, an official statement from Venture Catalysts said.
Venture Catalysts investors currently participating in the round include Sunil Kumar Singhvi of South Handlooms, Jayant Mehrotra of Lodha Group, Nirav Panchmatia of Aum Financial Advisors and Aditya Khurana of The Little Company Day Care Solutions.
Founded in 2014 by Singh along with Utkarsh Bagri, Deepak Choudhary and Vikram Shekhawat, Pariksha is a subscription-based application that helps aspirants learn, practice and prepare for government job exams. The startup has also launched a physical prepaid subscription card (Safalta) to enable offline transaction in rural regions. Users can buy the card at its retail outlets and use the scratch code to avail the subscription.
“We developed Pariksha as an all-in-one empowerment platform, helping students to prepare for examinations in the most convenient and enriching manner,” Singh said.
Pariksha currently operates across eight states, offering content in five languages – English, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi and Hindi. It claims to have acquired over one million users of which over 25,000 are paid subscribers.
“Pariksha’s team has a clear vision and a massive target audience spanning not only tier-II, III cities and rural regions, but also a certain student demographic in urban centers,” Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, co-founder and president, Venture Catalysts, said. “It is a one-stop preparatory platform for a vast number of examinations, and has an easy-to-engage interface that offers greater convenience to candidates.”